Knight’s Days - Life at Westminster with Sir Greg Knight

The Organ Donation Bill will introduce an opt-out system.
The Organ Donation Bill will introduce an opt-out system.

In the near future, the House of Commons will be asked to consider the Organ Donation Bill.

The Bill introduces an ‘opt-out’ system for organ donation, so the removal of organs from a human body will be presumed to have the deceased’s consent unless that person has indicated otherwise and has opted out.

Supporters of the Bill say that too many people in England and Wales are dying as a result of low donor rates and that a deemed consent, supported by a public awareness programme, could change this.

Quite clearly if medics are allowed to always remove organs unless a deceased has expressly declared otherwise, this will indeed lead to more transplants taking place and based on this test, if approved by Parliament, the measure should be a success.

However, the proposals do raise other issues.

For example, do we have the capacity to preserve for future use all organs so removed, so that body parts are not taken and then discarded?

But the most important question of all is, no matter how good the cause, should we be authorising the state to plunder human remains where the deceased has expressed no opinion?

When MPs decide this issue, it is likely that it will be in accordance with their own conscience rather than any political party line – and this is as it should be.

Parliament has started its examination of the new Agriculture Bill.

This sets out the UK’s future rural policy as we leave the EU and is the first measure of its kind since 1947!

It will replace burdensome and outdated EU rules for farming and also aims to deliver improved environmental land management schemes.

Future debate is likely to revolve around not whether it should be approved but whether the Bill should be amended to go even further.

Tourism figures are now available for earlier this year and it appears that travel company Thomas Cook had a rotten summer, causing their shares to plummet 23 per cent.

The company blames the UK’s summer heatwave for the large drop in its annual profit forecast, saying ‘many customers put off booking holidays abroad and stayed at home instead to enjoy the sunshine this summer’.

This is serious for a company which normally makes virtually all of its annual profits during the summer months.

It was also challenging for local farmers as rainfall was well short of expectations.

But what was bad news for some was simultaneously excellent news for UK tourism.

Officials are forecasting 40.9 million overall visits in the UK in 2018, an increase of 4.4% on 2017 and the forecast for spending by visitors is £26.3 billion, an increase of 7.1% on 2017. If achieved, this would be above the long-term average.

In areas like the East Riding, where it was a bumper Summer season, there is no doubt about it. When the weather is kind, there really is no place like home.